Family Education is a unique program component that Praxis offers for relatives, spouses, friends and cohabitants of patients. Many patients in rehab transition back into a home environment, such as adult children returning to a parent’s household, or an individual entering sober living, without their families knowing how the disease of addiction works.
People need support to get well, and people need a system that will support them in the right ways. Family education at Praxis invites family members and cohabitants of patients to participate in a 4-part educational series about the disease of addiction, covering topics ranging from the physiological science of addiction, comorbidity, trauma, codependency, establishing boundaries, and real life experiences from alumni speakers.
Classes occur at Praxis facilities onsite prior to visitation.
The Pathology of Addiction
Addiction is a Brain Disease
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is classified as a chronic and relapsing brain disease. However, there still remains a pervasive stigma that addiction is a moral failing on the part of the addict and not a serious medical condition. During our family education program, family members will learn about how addiction physically alters brain chemistry and changes the way a person thinks and acts.
PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms)
Following withdrawal and detox, patients may experience ongoing symptoms for weeks to months afterward. Known as PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms), these symptoms are milder than immediate withdrawal but can still be a significant barrier to long term recovery and it’s important for family members to understand this reality. Individuals in recovery report feelings of depression, anxiety, and difficulty focusing for a period following rehab. In family education, participants will be able to learn more about PAWS and the best ways to offer support.
Mental Health and Addiction
Mental Health Diagnosis and Addiction
Generally speaking, the correlation between those suffering from mental health disorders and substance use disorders are inordinately high compared to that of the general population. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, approximately 7.9 million adults had co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in 2014. Addressing mental health without addressing an addiction, or addressing an addiction without treating the underlying mental health disorder is less effective than tackling the problem as a whole. Dual diagnosis programs help those with co-occurring disorders treat both mental health disorders and substance dependency simultaneously.
Trauma and Addiction
Trauma is a specific psychological and emotional response to an intensely negative event or series of events. Trauma can as upsetting as a divorce or illness to experiencing the death of someone close to you or surviving sexual assault. Trauma can also stem from years of psychological or physical abuse from a spouse, parent, or friend. What unites trauma is the damage that these extreme experiences cause in the psyche of the person afflicted. Trauma victims also frequently suffer from substance use disorders. Treatment providers are increasingly recognizing that treatment for trauma-related symptoms and addiction could benefit greatly from integrated therapy and counseling models that address both issues concurrently.
Boundaries, Codependency, and Communication
Individuals who use can put intense emotional and financial stress on their loved ones. While it may feel like you need to always be helping your loved one, sometimes setting boundaries will not only help yourself but can also helped your loved ones. Family members will learn how to develop healthy emotional and physical boundaries to set for their loved one in recovery.
Codependency and Enabling
Loving someone with a substance abuse problem may often place you in the familiar scenario of offering “one more”. This could be one more loan, one more day to find a job etc… This kind of boundary works, but only when it’s enforced. Family members can’t let the offer of “one more” turn into another “one more”, and another and another. This kind of behavior is known as enabling. Family members will learn to identify what constitutes codependency and enabling behavior and how to stop it from happening.
Codependent individuals in relationships with substance users oftentimes become so preoccupied with fulfilling the expectations of their loved one that they lose touch with their own needs. In a chemically-dependent, dysfunctional relationship, communication of feelings can sometimes be non-existent. At Praxis, family members will learn what constitutes healthy communication and how to express feelings. One important part of communication is being bold and assertive when necessary, if you set boundaries you need to do your best to maintain them.
Helpful Behavior vs. Unhelpful Behavior
Loving someone with a substance abuse disorder can be emotionally and financially draining, frustrating, and utterly heartbreaking all at the same time. Family members and friends watch as their loved ones suffer the vicious cycle of addiction. The problem is many family members feel the need to offer help in any way they can, assuming that it will make things better, but sometimes this can cause problems. In this portion of the program, family members can learn what constitutes helpful vs. unhelpful behavior from alumni and family members of alumni as well.
How Does Sober Living Work?
Sober living programs provide individuals with safe transitional living, facilitating the transition from residential treatment to reintegrating with daily life. These programs allow alumni to connect with one another, support, and encourage continued sobriety. According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, sober living homes and transitional programs can help to sustain sobriety and that residence in one of these homes increases the odds of attending 12-Step meetings. Discharge planners can help answer questions about picking sober living options.
What is IOP?
Intensive Outpatient Programming is designed for people with substance abuse problems as well as dual diagnoses with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders. IOPs are a different level of care in which patients remain living at home and working while participating in weekly therapy sessions and drug testing. Our facility will offer patients access to our personalized IOP located in Fern Valley, Kentucky.